Jonathan Fenwick


Photos by Matt Dine


1st Place, 2016 Hertzog Concerto Competition; 2nd Place, 2016 Skaneateles Festival Robinson Award; 1st Place, 2016 Cantata Singers Young Performers Competition; 1st Place, 2014 NYS Empire Competition High School Division; 1st Place, 2013 MTNA Performance Competition High School Strings Division


Chautauqua Institution MSFO, 2019, 2022; Bowdoin International Music Festival, 2017–18, 2021; ARIA International Summer Academy, 2018; Music Mountain, 2018; Boston University Tanglewood Institute, 2016–18

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

When I started violin I remember being given a pizza box with a visual foot map for how to stand while playing.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century?

In some ways we can look to the past for inspiration. Adhering strictly to the overture–concerto–symphony format limits the repertoire by neglecting works that do not fall into one of those categories. As a result, many gems of classical music are rarely heard in concert today. Many orchestras maintain an archive of historical concert program facsimiles online, and perusing these documents reveals a much greater variety in programming in comparison to the average concert of today. Orchestras should also not be afraid to experiment and embrace new ways of performing. The current trend of live-to-picture concerts has been a worldwide success and only time will tell what the next big thing will be.

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most?

I have gone through many phases, but at the moment Mozart seems to speak to me the most.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it?

This year the pieces I have listened to most often are Mozart’s Gran Partita, John Adams’ Shaker Loops, Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, and Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician?

I can’t name just one, but all my most memorable performances have been as a part of an orchestra. It is remarkable when 80 people are on the same wavelength and giving 100%.

Favorite non-classical musician or band

By far the most important band for me personally is The Magnetic Fields. For the past several years, no other artist has meant more to me.

If you could play another instrument, what would it be?

Every instrument of the orchestra has its standout moments. I want to play them all.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

I would love to be involved in film production.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why?

Leonard Cohen, Laurie Anderson, and Itzhak Perlman. In addition to their artistic accomplishments, these three are engaging and thoughtful speakers on a wide range of subjects. I would love to see where the conversation went.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician

Take each performance seriously. With the right attitude, your concerts can be meaningful and memorable experiences for both you and your audience. Plus, you never know who might be listening, so it’s always smart to give a good impression.